DNA testing guide: Rhodesian Ridgeback

Recommended DNA tests

Our DNA testing is accepted by The Kennel Club.

Foresight Health -- £125

Foresight Health takes advantage of the latest testing methods to test for more than 160 inherited diseases in one test. 

Our proprietary next-generation testing method tests each mutation thousands of times to ensure absolute accuracy while making health testing more affordable than ever.

Rhodesian Ridgeback specific tests included in Foresight Health:

  • Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME)
    • This test is part of the official Kennel Club DNA testing scheme
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
    • This test is part of the official Kennel Club DNA testing scheme
    • Haemophilia B
      • This test is part of the official Kennel Club DNA testing scheme

      About DNA testing

      1. What is DNA testing?
      2. Why is DNA testing important?

      What is DNA testing?

      A genome is like a book of genetic recipes written in an alphabet of four letters: A, C, T and G. Each chapter in the book is called a chromosome. Each recipe in the chapter is called a gene. Specific instructions for the recipe in the gene are called exons. If a single letter of DNA in a recipe is copied wrong it's called a mutation and it can make the rest of the instructions unreadable. 

      The good thing is that we, and our pets, inherit one copy of the recipe book from mum and one copy from dad. This means that we have two copies of the instructions so if one copy has a mutation and is unreadable, we have a backup copy. A mutation is described as "recessive" when the instructions have to be mutated in both copies of the recipe book for your pet to develop the disease or trait. Less often, a mutation can be dominant, which means your pet only needs one copy of the mutated instructions to develop the disease, the normal copy is ignored. 

      DNA testing is where a scientist carries out molecular diagnostic testing to read the letters (the DNA sequence) and check for specific typos in the instructions (mutations) that are known to have an effect (a disease, a trait or the way your pet looks).

      A good example is the DNA test for diluted coat colour in dogs. Two copies of a mutation are needed to produce a grey coat colour instead of black. Black dogs have either a 'G' in both copies of the instructions, or they have a 'G' in one and an 'A' in the other, which means they carry the dilute coat colour but still have a black coat. If the dog has an 'A' in both copies of the instructions they have a dilute coat colour and are grey/blue. Voila!

      Why is DNA testing important?

      In the last few hundred years there has been intense artificial selection in dogs which has led to the development of a great number of breeds. The artificial selection and breeding has led to greater variation between breeds, but far less variation within each breed. This means that instead of a large number of genes having small effects on an individual, a small number of genes have a major effect on the inherited trait present. The use of inbreeding to maintain breed standards and the use of popular sires have all led to the emergence of a greater number of inherited diseases.

      Over the last 15 years great leaps forward have been made in both molecular biology and animal genetics research. The determination of disease-causing mutations has led to the development of DNA tests which can determine your pet's chances of developing these inherited diseases. As the number of identified mutations increases, so does the number of DNA tests available. 

      Genetic testing enables the diagnosis of a disease before the development of its first symptoms. The results of genetic tests are more accurate and reliable than the traditional methods for diagnosing inherited diseases, especially in diseases seen in later life. Genetic testing also enables diagnosis of the diseases long before an animal reaches mating age, enabling breeders to eliminate disease-causing mutations from their breeding lines. 

      Genetic testing is extremely cost-effective as your pet only needs to be tested once, and they can be tested at any age. DNA testing is non-invasive as no blood test is required - just a cheek swab.